Some of the noteworthy things I've read, watched and otherwise took in over the past week.
Styling An Individual Article (screencast) - Chris Coyier Great insight via screencast on how you can customize each post in WP. Even though I may never be in the position to make elaborate use of the Art Direction plugin, I learned just how much I envy Coyier. I really don't know where he finds the time and energy to do all the work he does, but I'm pretty sure my wife would kick me out of the house if I even tried to keep up.
Style vs. Design - Jeffrey Zeldman Wow, what a fantastic article! Zeldman is rightfully held up as a leader in the industry. I so often deal with those that confuse style and design and this piece helped me articulate some of the things I knew were off but couldn't put to words.
Testing Your Own Designs Redux - Paul J. Sherman This was in response to another article by the same author discussing the issue of designers testing the usability of their own work. It's a solid article, but you'd better break out the ol' college-level reading glasses -- a Smashing article this is not. One of the points shared was about approaching self-evaluation with a Zen mentality, which I highly agree with. The mentality behind the small agency I'm with kind of forces me into this self-testing (or else none would be done at all), so I'm always a bit surprised when I hear that it's not normal for every designer to try to be holistic with their work.
You Are Not A Designer And I Am Not A Musician I looked high, low, and places in between but I couldn't find the name of the author. Regardless, I just can't get on board with this post. I think a number of really good points were made, but I feel that it's condescending and I don't like its holier-than-thou tone. Maybe if I were more familiar with the author I'd like the post more, but it did link to something I liked quite a bit more from Feb. 2008,
[Fuck Style](http://www.ideasonideas.com/2008/02/fuckstyle/)_ - Eric Karjaluoto Don't be fooled by the title. This is an incredibly thoughtful and insightful writeup on the importance of pragmatic, problem-oriented design over egocentric style-driven work. It was especially interesting to run into this a day after reading Zeldman's Style vs. Design.
The Truth on Posting Frequency - Blog Article Schedule - Rob Sutton MAXIMIZE YOUR BLOGGING POTENTIAL! Call me cynical, but I have a hard time buying into the whole blogging as a profession thing. I find Rob Sutton interesting because he seems genuine to me, but I think the whole concept of blogger entrepreneurialism is going to have to deflate eventually. I don't think a bottom will fall out like the Tech Bubble, but eventually there's going to be an acute over-saturation and advertising just won't be able to pay like it has been. To get of my rant, the article was decent; Quality > Frequency.
Dragon Age: Origins - EA Bioware - PC Game I got a copy as a Christmas gift and got to spend a few hours digging into it the following day. It's great so far -- Joystiq has a lot of info on this well-received game -- I just hope productivity doesn't take a nose dive because of it.
- Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things*- Donald A. Norman *I just started in on this and it's good so far. It's great to read about how different parts of our brain react to or process the objects we interact with. I think it's going to take me a while to make it all the way through this book -- not for a lack of interest but for a lack of time.
Of course, it wouldn't be Christmas without big meals, lots of sweets and holiday TV marathons but I'm no more interested in talking about my weight gains than you are with reading about it.